Springtime in this beautiful city is just around the corner and so is my favorite time of year, Festival Season! There are lots of festivals in March, April, and May here in New Orleans. Most of them are family-friendly festivals with kids' areas, carnival rides, bouncy castles, live music, and more! Surviving local festivals with a toddler can create its own set of challenges, but keep these top tips in mind when planning your day to have a great festival experience for the whole family!
Bring the Big Stroller
You're going to need to bring a stroller because their little legs won't be able to keep up! Trust me, you'll want to bring the big stroller or a stroller wagon instead of the little umbrella stroller. You will be grateful for it and it gives them a place to sit comfortably, eat lots of snacks, provides them with much-needed shade and it's the perfect place for a sleeping baby to relax. Plus, this will free up your hands from a diaper bag and where else are you going to put your cooler?
Adjust Your Expectations
One of the first things you need to do before heading out to a festival with toddlers and small children is to adjust your expectations and go with the flow. Accept that your day will be shorter than you were used to before kids. Your toddler may get overwhelmed by the crowds or loud music so if possible consider taking a nap break and going back for a session or two after nap time. And remember in New Orleans there will always be another festival!
Take a seat in the back
Your toddler will want a little room to move around and may need to get away from the loud noise from the music. One of the best things you can do is to stake out a spot in the back of the crowd where younger children can twirl and dance from a safe distance!
Pro Tip: If your attending French Quarter Fest, this year Jackson Square, under a palm during the early hours on Sunday morning is one of the great places to lay back, relax and enjoy the hours of entertainment the festival provides!
Children's ears are sensitive and the music is loud for little ears, so you'll need to invest in ear protectors for younger kids such as noise-canceling headphones or ear plugs. Even older children may benefit from ear protection as well.
Small children with sunburns are miserable so I can't stress sun protection enough. Babies 6 months and older should have sunscreen applied to every area of exposed skin at least 30 minutes before going out into the sun and reapplying every two hours. Also, rash guards with UV protection, sun hats, and sunglasses with UV protection are also great options for keeping your toddler safe from the sun!
Spring in New Orleans can be HOT, so keeping cool is a must! An easy way you can keep your toddler cool is a spray bottle with water to mist on them periodically! You can also get a portable fan that clips to your stroller and cooling towels. Make sure you pack water bottles and plenty of snacks like watermelon, frozen grapes, frozen yogurt pouches, and cold applesauce pouches. Snowballs are also a MUST and a great way to cool off!
Most importantly – RELAX! Relax and enjoy this time with your kids! Go with the flow a bit and just have a wonderful time If it doesn't turn out so great, it's ok – there's always next weekend. Reevaluate and try again!
Insider Tips for New Orleans Moms
- If you are headed out to the quarter to get some Festing done this Summer, and you need to take a potty break, stop by the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve on Decatur. It's two doors down from Bubba Gump. There is an awesome museum, with a beautiful courtyard, and some clean potties. Just be sure to be considerate and support this national park!
- Use your Aquarium Membership! This is a great option to take a break in the AC, use the bathroom, let your little one get some energy out, and visit the penguins!
With these tips and a little patience, you will have a great time surviving festivals with a toddler in tow! Have fun introducing your little one to our local culture through festivals!
Do you have any tips for going to festivals with a toddler that we forgot?